Meet Canada's 12-year-old Internet tycoon

HONG KONG, Feb 18 (AFP) - Twelve-year-old Canadian business tycoon Keith Peiris calmly met with Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, before delivering an in-depth speech on Silicon Valley and the implications of China's entry into the World Trade Organisation, a report said Sunday.

The whiz kid, a grade seven student in Ontario, Canada, is president and chief executive of a multi-million dollar website design firm, Cyberteks Design.

Peiris was in the territory with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien's 500-member "Team Canada" trade delegation, which visited Beijing, Shanghai and departed Hong Kong early Sunday.

Cyberteks, which boasts 25 clients, including blue chip companies, has 14 employees, including Peiris's father, Deepal, who is vice-president of the firm founded by his son.

Deepal began teaching his son computer skills when aged only nine.

Despite being by far the youngest member of the firm Peiris insisted "they don't treat me as a kid."

"I am the boss, they don't mind taking orders from me," he said, quoted by the Sunday Morning Post.

Peiris, who draws a six figure salary, confessed that some potential clients baulk when they learn of his age. However "the problem fades away as they see the quality of my work."

Before making his speech to the Hong Kong Productivity Council Saturday, Peiris was awarded their first "Outstanding Digi-Youth Award."

COPYRIGHT 2001 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.
Agence France-Presse on February 18, 2001